Two executives had become locked in an ongoing feud that was beginning to have a negative impact on their company. After all internal efforts to settle the dispute had failed, the CEO of the organization asked if I would be willing to try and be a peacemaker between the two.
Both men professed to be followers of Jesus Christ, so I thought that might make my job a bit easier. I would attempt to hear and understand both sides of the story and then seek to apply appropriate biblical principles for resolving the conflict.
After interviewing each person separately, I brought them together and explained what I believed God desired to happen in this situation. Moments later I watched as God did an astounding work in both of their hearts. These two men looked at each other and embraced as brothers sharing a common bond in Christ. Then they prayed for each other, making a commitment to continue doing so in the future.
As I observed this spontaneous healing of their professional relationship, I thought of the words Jesus taught in Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”
We live in a world – including the workplace – where animosity and adversarial relationships seem the rule rather than the exception. Competition, jealousy, vindictiveness and other destructive feelings leave little room for “peace” in the business and professional world. In fact, conflict is so commonplace, it seems the capacity for making peace has largely been lost. Hence the need for “peacemakers,” as Jesus pointed out.
I was privileged and blessed to be a part of something amazing God did in the lives of these two business leaders. It was not skills, profound insights or any special techniques that enabled me to facilitate this process to a successful conclusion. God did the work. However, it is true that He uses peacemakers to bring healing. He might want to use you, as well.
It is important to note there is a difference between peacemaking and “peacekeeping.” Peacekeeping often consists only in looking the other way, ignoring the conflict, and foolishly hoping it will just disappear on its own. This rarely is the case.
Peacemaking involves intentionally and purposefully addressing the conflict – and all of the parties involved – with the goal of finding a solution that is acceptable to everyone. Ideally, the resolution represents a “win-win,” with no one feeling their needs or interests were not taken into account.
Peace should be a hallmark of all who profess to follow Jesus Christ, and as such we have an obligation to assist in making peace whenever we can. It is not always easy – bringing harmony out of discord can be hard work. But we are exhorted to do it just the same. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).
Copyright 2013, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more about Integrity Resource Center or to sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments, visit www.integrityresource.org. His book, How to Prosper in Business Without Sacrificing Integrity, gives a biblical approach for doing business with integrity.
1. Have you ever been involved in a serious conflict that was disruptive to those around you? If so, what was that like? How did it originate – and how was it resolved, if at all?
2. When you hear the term “peacemaker,” what does that mean to you?
3. Do you agree with the distinction between peacemaking and peacekeeping? Explain your answer.
4. Do you think that one’s spiritual beliefs can be an asset in working toward achieving peace, whether in the workplace, the home, or in the community? Why or why not?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:
Proverbs 17:14, 18:19, 20:3, 26:21; Romans 12:18-20; Colossians 3:15